Minister Sisulu to brief media on the Ministerial Review Panel final report

The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu, on wednesday  received a final report from the Ministerial Review Panel on its review of South Africa’s foreign policy.

Minister Sisulu appointed the Review Panel in 2018 to make an in-depth evaluation of the country’s foreign policies, including reviewing the strengths, weaknesses and possible gaps of the existing policies as well as their implementation.

The Minister will be joined by the Deputy Ministers of International Relations and Cooperation, Mr Luwellyn Landers and Ms Reginah Mhaule, as well as members of the Review Panel.

 

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

Preview of the South African Elections

The South African general elections will be taking place 8 May 2019 and the election according to polls is widely expected to be dominated the current ruling party the African National Congress (ANC), with president Cyril Ramaphosa expected to get a new term with a new mandate.

The ANC in its manifesto promised its own land forms, capable honest government and a growing economy.Pledged with corruption allegations on multiple party members this year’s election may be toughest the party has had to face since 1994.

There are 3 other opposition parties which will be looking to cut the ANC voter share, those being the Democratic Alliance (DA) lead Mmusi Maimane which is also the official opposition party which has promise to stop corruption and bring good governance to South Africa.

Third in the running is the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) lead by Julius Malema which has pledged to bring land reform, job opportunities, prosperity and dignity for South Africans. The party is seen as the radical option for voters but is widely popular with South African youth.

The fourth main opposition party is the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) lead by Mangosuthu Buthelezi 90 year old and will be looking to maintain its long standing party position in parliament with its “Trust Us” campaign slogan. The IFP has promise to lower crime rates, create jobs and put education first.

By Mokgethi Mtezuka

French President Macron plans tax cut to end yellow jacket movement

 (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP) (Photo credit should read CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP/Getty Images)

President Emmanuel Macron held multiple town hall meetings in order to address the growing social unrest of the French people in the form of the Yellow Jacket Movement. They have been protesting Macron’s reforms and calling for him to resign.

After holding 10,000 meetings the French president came to a conclusion that the main reason for the ongoing protest was France’s very high tax rate which is rated to be the highest among developed countries, according to bbc.com.

The reduction in tax may come at the expense of social welfare, as France is also the one of the highest in social spending among developed countries – 46.2% of national output (GDP) from tax revenue and with social welfare spending of 31.2% of GDP in 2018.

 

Source: bbc.com

 

 

100 days of Bolsonaro’s Presidency – wins, struggles & blunders

Elected with 55.1% on October 2018 and officially sworn in as the President of the Republic of Brazil, succeeding Michael Temer, on 1 January 2019—Bolsonaro is a day away from reaching  100 days in office. With 99 days in office, Bolsonaro’s Presidency has had few wins, struggles, and blunders.

The Brazil economy has grown the second year in a row, the country’s trade surplus reached US$ 3,67 billion in February, inflation estimate has reduced and jobs have been added to the economy. The President has attained some of his campaign promises: “he signed a decree easing restrictions on gun ownership as an anti-crime move, privatized some state-run companies, installed a Cabinet with eight members of the military”, reported by Washington Post.

Bolsonaro visited the US in March and during the trip, he declared himself a bold devotee of the US. This trip infuriated most Brazilians, with most taking to Twitter with the #BolsonaroEvergonhaOBrasil – #BolsonaroShamesBrazil. Citizen’s of the Republic accused President Jair Bolsonaro of prejudice, misrepresenting Brazilians and trying to please US President, Donald Trump, which many Brazilians found offensive including members of his base. The hashtag trended across the world. Many cartoons were created showing Bolsonaro as Trump’s pet and subordinate.

Twitter post: @moema4

READ MORE: Trump to designate Brazil as a “Major Non-NATO ally”

The month of March was marked with Bolsonaro’s Presidential visits, it was first the US, followed Chile. The Chile visit sparked controversy, the President praised Chile’s former military dictatorship that led to the first-ever boycott of a presidential visit by influential Chilean politician. This caused in Chile anger and a rare political boycott.

RELATED STORY:Bolsonaro’s official trips spark controversy

The President concluded March with a visit to Israel. Day 2 of the visit Bolsonaro visited the Western wall which caused Palestinians to be angry. Bolsonaro’s plan to move Israel’s capital to Jerusalem angered the Muslims. Recent reports have had the right-wing leader saying he has not changed his mind about moving the capital.

The Bolsonaro Presidency has been marked by insults to adversaries and allies, fighting among his administration and praise for Brazil’s dictatorship (1964 -1985) – Washington Post.

 

By: Kgothatso Nkanyane

BREXIT deadline closes in with deadlock still in place

BREXIT is still at a standstill as Prime Minister Theresa May is weighing her options as to how to pass the  BREXIT deal and avoiding a no deal situation. Some leaders in the EU have stated that a no deal divorce will be seen as the lesser even if May’s deal is not passed by the British Parliament.

May is now holding talks with oppositions Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbin in a new effort to pass her deal which has failed to be passed three times in the British Parliament. There calls for either May to compromise her deal or resign as many believe she no more than sitting duck prime minister now.

The EU has given the United Kingdom (UK) till the 12 April 2019 as the new deadline for BREXIT.  Time is running out for the UK leaders to come to an agreement as a no deal scenario looks to be the most like option if parliamentarians can’t come to an agreement for the British people.

 

By Mokgethi Mtezuka

South Africa’s support for the Saharawi people may hurt Sanlam’s billion dollar deal in Morocco

South African insurance and investment company, Sanlam may have a problem pushing through a billion dollar deal in Morocco. Sanlam is in the process of trying to purchase Saham Finances SA, and it may come in to conflict with the South Africans government support of the Saharawi people.

According to fin24.com Moroccan billionaire Othman Benjelloun spoke out on the deal and said “Sanlam’s acquisition of insurer Saham Finances SA”. He further said that  South Africa has chosen the wrong side in a territorial dispute. The South African government last month hosted the Southern African Development Community (SADC) heads of State meeting which was held to show the regions solidarity with the Saharawi.

Benjelloun is very influential and is the chairperson of Morocco’s BMCE Bank. He also called for South Africa to change strategies with regard to Morocco or the deal will receive no support.

 

Source: fin24.com

President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed Edward Kieswetter as Head of the South African Revenue Service (SARS)

Former chief executive of Alexander Forbes, Edward Kieswetter has been appointed by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to be the new commissioner of the South African Revenue Service (SARS). Kieswetter will start his five-year term at the beginning of May.

Kieswetter has been tasked with the reestablishment of trust in the South Africa tax collection agency. According to dailymaverick.co.za the tax institution had been mismanaged and dismantled through alleged corrupt dealings.

Kieswetter having a good reputation, certainly looks to be a good choice, as well as him coming from the private sector – he will establish international standard working procedures and benchmarking. Kieswetter also has previous experience with SARS having worked as the deputy commissioner 2004-2009.

By Mokgethi Mtezuka

SADC leaders attend Saharawi Solidarity Conference

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) heads of State are in meeting at the South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) offices, in Pretoria. The leaders are in meeting to stand in solidarity with the Saharawi people of the Arab Democratic Republic (SADR).

South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa said that the aim of the conference is to build bridges, ending subjugation and dominance through force. This is also part of building an integrated, politically united Africa based on the ideals of Pan-Africanism, as well as ensuring a peaceful and secure Africa, he said.

The Conference noted that the Saharawi made their decision was clear in 1991, when they agreed to engage in a referendum for independence that’s been obstructed by Morocco for 27 years. The Africa Union (AU), the United Nations (UN) and Morocco were also urged to expedite the referendum.

The Saharawi people are willing to engage with good faith with Morocco in a civil manner of dignity and respect. All that is need is for Morocco to sit at the same table and to implement decisions of AU, UN and international community at large.

 

By Mokgethi Mtezuka

Minister Sisulu thanks South Africans for responding to the call for humanitarian assistance

The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu, has expressed her sincere gratitude to all the South African companies, NGOs and individuals who have responded, and are still responding, to the call for humanitarian assistance for victims affected by Cyclone Idai in Malawi, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

“We are humbled by the generosity of all South Africans who continue to deliver boxes of goods at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO). This is who we are. This is what Ubuntu is,” said Minister Sisulu.

The Minister noted the offers of financial assistance made to DIRCO and announced that the Director-General, Kgabo Mahoai, would, on Friday, 22 March 2019, announce details of a humanitarian fund that would allow stakeholders to deposit such funds.

The Minister repeated her appeal to all companies operating in these three countries, and other South African companies, to lead in contributing and in the delivery of humanitarian aid.

“Blankets, clothes, water, stationery and non-perishable food items are in urgent need. We are humbled by NGOs like Gift of the Givers, who are already assisting on the ground,” added Minister Sisulu.

Donations can be delivered at the DIRCO Head Office or at the Ministry Offices in Parliament, Cape Town. The following officials can be contact for further guidance:

Matheko Rametsi
rametsimu@dirco.gov.za
+27 81 037 2765

Surprise Malehase
malehases@dirco.gov.za
+27 83 700 7946

 

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

Minister Sisulu to attend a meeting of the SADC Council of Ministers in Namibia

The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu, MP, will travel to Windhoek, Namibia, for a meeting of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Council of Ministers scheduled for 15 to 16 March 2019.

The SADC Council of Ministers is responsible for overseeing the functioning and development of the region. The Council also ensures that policies and decisions taken are implemented.

The upcoming SADC Council of Ministers Meeting is expected to deliberate on a number of key issues pertaining to the region and will also consider a number of strategic documents and receive update reports on the progress made since the last meeting, which took place in Windhoek, Namibia in August 2018.

Key issues to be deliberated upon will include the status of finances of the organisation and the approval of the 2019/20 budget. Furthermore, Council will also reflect on progress made towards Continental and Regional Integration.

In addition, Council will receive a progress report on the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap and on the implementation of the current theme of the 38th SADC Summit “Promoting Infrastructure Development and Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development.”

South Africa will also report on the state of readiness relating to the hosting of the upcoming SADC Solidarity Conference with the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, scheduled to take place in South Africa from 25 to 26 March 2019.

The SADC Council of Ministers Meeting was preceded by meetings of the SADC Standing Committee of Senior Officials on 11 March 2019 and the Finance Committee on 12 March 2019.

Minister Sisulu will be accompanied by the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Bulelani Magwanishe and senior officials from other departments.

 

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION